The Green Essentials on Making your Home More Sustainable
Making your home more energy and cost-efficient is one of the best ways you can have to manifest a positive impact on the ever-changing climate change this pandemic time. Here, I rounded up few basic tips on making your home more sustainable and eco-friendly.
- Natural Lighting
- Refers to the maximization of the use of natural light from the sun instead of the regular artificial lighting. To achieve this, houses are properly planned to consider the sun’s orientation. It is important to identify and be mindful of the north, east, west, and south orientations of the building to ensure that natural lighting is maximized, and heat gain is minimized.
- Another strategy is designing homes with wide-open windows and fenestrations facing towards the north, east, and south sides of the building. As much as possible, avoid placing wide openings on the west as it is the time of the day where the sun shines the hottest.
- Natural Ventilation
- Refers to the use of natural air to flow freely within the house. Similarly with Natural Ventilation, proper consideration of building orientation to maximize the wind flow and pattern can help in cooling the building and capturing natural ventilation to produce a much healthier building while realizing energy savings.
- Another strategy is orienting the fenestrations of the buildings towards the southwest or northeast side of the building to maximize the natural flow of the wind.
- Energy Efficiency
- Refers to the use of energy-efficient building materials, equipment, appliances, and fixtures. These are the lighting systems, air conditioning systems, and building envelope strategies. The use of LED lighting fixtures, Inverter type air conditioning systems, energy-saving appliances with high energy efficiency ratings, and adoption of double-wall systems or use of solar films on windows, are among the many strategies which can significantly help reduce energy consumption and achieve high energy savings.
- Water Efficiency
- Refers to the efficient use and consumption of water in a house both for drinking and cleaning. To achieve high water efficiency in buildings, proper selection of water fixtures is essential to reduce water consumption. Examples are the use of Low Flow faucets and aerators or double flush systems in water closets. Another strategy is the use of rainwater harvesting and water recycling system in the building. Integrating these strategies do not only gives the home or building owner an opportunity to help save the environment but as well as significantly reduce water bills and consumption.
- Material Sustainability
- Refers to the use of indigenous or locally available materials in the construction of a house. By doing this, the home owner will be able to reduce carbon footprint. Buying material locally means lesser carbon used to transport the material from the source to the project site.
- Another element to consider is the VOC which stands for Volatile Organic Compound. Using materials with Low VOCs can help reduce the adverse impact on human health and the environment.
- Indoor Air Quality
- Refers to maintaining good air quality within the house. This can be achieved by carefully selecting building material with little to no toxic substance. These toxic substances can be found in building materials such as paints, adhesives, cleaning materials and among others, which can cause sick building syndrome. This is a condition wherein the occupants of the house feel nauseous while staying over a long period of hours inside, may it be in a building or at the workplace.
- Home Automation
- Refers to the integration of technology in the overall home design and operation. Simply referring to Smart Homes, where automatic sensors and internet controls are integrated to monitor energy use and consumption through smartphones. This integration does not only help save energy but as well as help make houses or buildings safer and more secure.
- Green Roof and Green Walls
- Refers to the adoption of the roof garden and vertical wall gardens. These strategies do not only add aesthetic value and quality to the buildings but as well as minimize solar heat gain. Reduced solar heat gain within the building means lesser air cooling and conditioning. Thus, achieving optimum energy efficiency in building’s air conditioning and mechanical systems and arrive at significant savings in electric consumption.
Having such an architect who specializes in Sustainable and Green Design will help home or building owners put together all these elements during the planning, design, and construction phase of the house or building project. Once all these have been achieved, the buildings may qualify your house or building as a candidate for Green Building Certifications. Thus, realizing significant savings, in terms of energy consumption, water use efficiency, and most importantly ensuring the health and safety of building occupants. Going Green is not just a fad but the way to go fab.